The hotel and hospitality industry is grappling with an unprecedented staffing crisis caused by a multitude of factors, including the prolonged aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the return of consumer travel, hotel and restaurant occupancy levels are nearly back to pre-pandemic levels, but employment lags behind, down by 17 percent from 2019 levels (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). Employers are faced with the daunting challenge of attracting and retaining qualified staff in these tough labor market conditions.
To overcome this staffing crisis, companies are exploring various solutions, and two primary strategies stand out: increasing productivity through technology and automation, and tapping into gig apps to hire and retain more workers.
Leveraging Technology to Boost Productivity
Several industries have successfully reduced their labor burdens through technology and automation, and the hospitality industry can follow suit. Consumers today prefer contactless experiences, and more than 70 percent of hotel guests are no exception. Incorporating technology and automation not only eases the workload on staff but also enhances the guest experience.
Here are some key technological tools already being adopted in the hospitality industry:
- Guest Management Systems (GMSs): These systems modernize the guest journey, offering contactless check-in and checkout. They also facilitate automated communication between guests and hotel staff, reducing front desk phone calls and providing guests with information about the hotel and local attractions.
- Staff Scheduling: Automated scheduling tools enable managers to create schedules efficiently, considering employee availability and labor laws, thus helping hoteliers better manage labor costs.
- Payments: Contactless payment options like Apple Pay and Google Wallet are increasingly popular for food and beverage payments, making it easier for guests to settle their bills.
Attracting and Retaining Staff
Improving staff compensation and making properties more attractive to workers is crucial for addressing the staffing crisis. A survey by Canary Technologies found that low pay was the most common reason why hotel workers left the industry. To address this, GravyWork has been at the forefront of competitive pay. We make sure we provide correct compensation for our workers, which keeps our employees motivated and builds a long lasting relationship between companies and staff.
In addition to technology, gig apps like GravyWork are playing a significant role in addressing the hospitality staffing challenge. These apps connect hotels, restaurants, caterers and event managers with a flexible workforce, allowing them to quickly fill staffing gaps as needed. Gig workers provide a dynamic solution, offering their services when hotels require them the most. Embracing automation and leveraging gig apps can alleviate staffing issues, improve the guest experience, and create better working conditions for hotel employees. In this evolving landscape, staying ahead of the curve will provide companies with a competitive advantage in attracting and retaining qualified staff.